- May 23 11:14 am
Normally my "Prelim" photos are without much elaboration as to where, when, etc. When I finalize images, I become verbose. These photos were more cryptic than usual. However, the name I give photos usually provides some elaboration.
These are named "PrelimFTSP". Fork-tailed Storm-petrel.
Several months ago at Pt. Roberts, I accidentally spotted a flock of about 10 birds dipsy-doodling about 1 kilometer from shore. Not visible without some augmentation. I spotted them while scanning the horizon with a 10X monocular.
I decided that they were Storm-petrels. Previously one of the regulars at Pt. Roberts who uses a scope, mentioned that the rarest sighting he had had there was of Storm-petrels - and he seemed a little uncertain as to the proper ID.
I posted a bad photo to my Flickr account and a Follower posted a comment that they could not be Storm-petrels, that they were likely "Barn Swallows". Others claimed that Storm-petrels don't come close to shore, especially not in the Salish Sea. Unfortunately none of my photos was sharp enough to be of much help.
Normally these would be fairly common birds seen on a pelagic trip, several kilometers from the shore.
So as I wrote, "while standing on a wharf...", I saw these birds in a marina on the coast of Washington State. They were inside the harbour.
When people hang feeders in their yards, they expect birds to arrive. Birds follow food (except in Arizona, where they follow water). With that in mind, I speculated that the hundreds of boats in the marina might issue enough garbage to stimulate plankton growth, which is the main ingredient of this species diet. That is, they were simply following the food.
However, their preferred diet is phytoplankton and we have had a dearth of sun these past few months. So perhaps the food supply in their normal feeding area off shore is minimal and they have flown around looking for food and happened upon this marina.
I noted some other interesting behaviour as well, but it gets complicated.
Regardless, a rare opportunity to photograph this species while not clinging to the side of a rocking boat.